Johannesburg, Mar 16 (IANS): South Africa's all-rounder Dane van Niekerk has announced her retirement from all forms of international cricket, ending a career that spanned more than 14 years.
Dane represented South Africa in 107 ODIs, 86 T20Is and a single Test match against India in 2014, with her last international appearance coming in 2021 before a broken ankle left her sidelined.
Her decision to retire from international cricket comes after her controversial non-selection in South Africa's squad for the Women's T20 World Cup in February. Dane failed to pass the fitness test by 18 seconds and was eventually left out of the squad.
In her absence, Sune Luus led the team to a runners-up finish, after losing to eventual six-time champions Australia in the final at Cape Town. Dane had hinted through an Instagram story on Saturday that she could be quitting international cricket.
"It is with great sadness that I announce my retirement from international cricket. It has been my greatest honour to lead and represent my country. I am incredibly blessed to have led the team through its transformative years. There is no doubt that the women's game is in an exciting space and looking forward to seeing this beautiful game that I love to grow."
"I look back on my career fondly and have made incredible memories and want to thank Cricket South Africa and all other stakeholders for your support. Often the journey can be lonely, painful, and emotional, but would not change it for anything. I'm grateful for what this game has given me," said Dane in her official statement.
Beginning her international career in March 2009, Dane scored 2175 runs in ODI cricket, with nine half-centuries and a career-best score of 102 against Sri Lanka, while amassing 1877 runs in T20Is, notching up 10 fifties.
With the ball, the leg-spinner bagged 138 wickets in ODIs, 65 scalps in T20Is and 1 in Tests, including recording-breaking figures of four for zero during the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2017 against the West Indies in Leicester, England.
Dane is one of only six female cricketers to claim more than 1000 runs, 50 wickets and 50 catches in the One-Day format, while also having the fourth-best bowling strike rate (5.0) recorded in the history of Women's ODI cricket.
"To all the players that I had the privilege to have shared the dressing room and competed with, I will hold on to the memories dearly. We are merely custodians of this sport; I hand it over knowing I have given it my everything and that women's cricket is in a better place than when I arrived."
"That must be the responsibility of the new group, to always make sure you are improving and making a difference. It is time for me to support the new leadership and wish them all the very best," she added.
Dane signs off as South Africa's most successful captain in ODIs, leading the team to victory in 29 of the 50 ODIs from 2016 to 2021. Under her in T20Is, South Africa won 15 of the 30 matches from 2014 to 2021.
"To my amazing family. Thank you for your incredible love and support. From the age of four, you have seen my potential and done everything and anything to help me exceed it. I will forever be grateful."
"My wife, Marizanne, you stood by my side since day one. Thank you for putting up with me and all that came with it, but yet, here you are. You are at the pinnacle of your career and it is my time to support you, the way you have supported me. I love you," she stated.
Dane was a part of South Africa's ODI World Cup squads in 2009, 2013 and 2017 and also featured in the T20 World Cups from 2009 to 2020. She is currently with the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad in the inaugural edition of the Women's Premier League in India.
"I would like to take this opportunity to graciously thank Dané for all her years of service and contribution to not only the ground-breaking success of the Momentum Proteas over the last decade but to the overall growth and popularity of women's cricket in South Africa and around the world."
"Her world-class cricketing ability and exceptional leadership skills are irrefutable and will surely be missed by her teammates, coaches and all South African fans who have followed her journey over the last 14 years. We wish Dané all the very best ahead of the next chapter in her career," said Enoch Nkwe, CSA Director of Cricket.